If you go out to a frozen lake at this time of year, chances are good you’ll see a guy out there ice fishing. But ice fishing isn’t just for men. Barb Carey has been ice fishing her whole life and is devoted to getting other women out on the ice. She teaches ice fishing to women all over Wisconsin and the upper Midwest through her organization Wisconsin Women Fish.
One of the obstacles to getting women out on the ice, says Carey, is proper gear. Until recently, most ice fishing gear and clothing were made for men. The little that was available to women wasn’t as high quality or cost much more. Carey says that’s changing and that’s helping get more women out on the ice.
Another obstacle? The deprivation, hard-nosed style – think hand augers and plastic buckets for seats – of many people’s relatives who may have tried to teach women to fish. Carey says ice fishing can be comfortable and, more importantly, warm, with the right set-up, all of which she provides during her workshops and for rental.
Carey is also trying to change the image of ice anglers through her Women Ice Angler Project. Fed up with catalogs and magazines showing only men ice fishing, Carey decided to create high quality photos and videos of women fishing for use in tourism and product promotions.
Carey says that ice fishing is life changing for many women. She’s taught everyone from girls to women in their 80s. Part of what Carey loves about fishing is the uncertainty of a day on the ice and the thrill of pulling in a fish after a fight. The adrenalin rush keeps Carey coming back for more. It’s also what hooks many of her students.
Find out more about Wisconsin Women Fish here.